May 2022 is no more. May has been one of the driest months in decades here in Belgium, and while June traditionally announces summertime, temperatures have suddenly dropped and rain finally started to pour out—marginally. The weather continues to be unpredictable, strange, and negatively influence to my mood. Recent worlds events—a continuing war that endangers human lives and the world economy, yet another Texan shootout, weird political decisions when it comes to energy saving and financial support—all these facts don’t exactly brighten anyone’s day.
But let’s try to focus on the good parts of being alive, such as learning new things (on learning a new language) and playing with our cats (or is the cat playing with us, Montaigne? Life lessons of Bonnie the Cat). I regularly catch myself aimlessly scrolling on Mastodon, desperately wanting to read some good news or stumbling upon meaningless but joyful things instead of being confronted with nothing but bad news. It helps that it isn’t a cesspool like Twitter, but the negative effects of “being online” and zoning out are something I have to watch out for.
Previous month in review: April 2022.
Books I’ve read
Only one, but a thick one:
- How to Live; A Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts at an Answer by Sarah Bakewell.
What a fantastic book—easily the best one I’ve read so far this year. It convinced me to go back and revisit Montaigne’s Essays which I gave up after a rambling about an ancient war I couldn’t quite follow a few hundred pages in. Montaigne is my favorite down-to-earth philosopher and like me despises academically ridden rationalism, although Descartes and Hegel’s unintelligible texts would come much later. Montaigne is much more interested in the practicalities of life and how to live it. Oh, and he doesn’t like green apples and prefers sex while laying down. Just so you know.
Bakewell runs down the history of Montaigne’s past and legacy and adds context by other philosophers that would follow him. This is very accessible material that serves as the perfect introduction to Montaigne’s seminal work and how to approach it.
The purpose of life might be life itself. (Montaigne)
Games I’ve played
For those keen on entering the wonderful world of handheld retro gaming but unsure where to start: I made a decision tree for buying retro handheld devices.
I simply continued April’s Game Boy obsession and bought and played through the following carts:
- Tom & Jerry: Frantic Antics!
- Sesame Street’s Elmo in Grouchland
- Looney Tunes Collector: Martian Revenge & its companion
- Yogi Bear’s Gold Rush
- Alfred Chicken
See the Codex games list for reviews of each game.
This seems like a lot in one month, but most of these games can be finished in less than an hour if you’re in a hurry. As for which game that’s actually worth your time, I’d say Looney Tunes Collector, which is an admirable Pokémon-like collect-a-thon and features post-endgame and game link cable content, and to a lesser degree Alfred Chicken just because it’s a Euro platformer curiosity. I should really really start that Dragon Quest adventure, especially after listening to the Axe of the Blood God podcast’s top 25 RPGs of all time. Dragon Quest V is on spot 11, and XI on 10. DQV on the DS is
$100+ nowadays. Shit.
Selected blog posts
- Looking at RSS User-Agents by Jeff Kaufman contains a few handy
grepsnippets to rummage through your nginx
access.login search of user agent headers that apparently sometimes even list the amount of subscribers (Feedbin does this, for instance).
- Git ignores .gitignore with .gitignore in .gitignore by Ruben Schade. This is one of the many reasons I love Ruben’s blog.
- The different kinds of notes by Baldur Bjarnason. Less moaning about note-taking, more (analog) note-taking!
- Experience Report: 6 months of Go by Varun Gandhi who comes from C++. Go lovers, be warned, it’ll get messy!
- The IndieWeb privacy challenge by Sebastian Greger. Old but still very relevant, and it’s telling that much of the IndieWeb culture is rooted in American meh privacy culture.
- A Starter List For Your RSS Reader by Warren Ellis. A great way to promote others' small websites that otherwise fly under the radar.
- Tools for Thought as Cultural Practices, not Computational Objects by Maggie Appleton. Another interesting take at the process of note-taking and the bigger picture.
Other random links
- Baïkal is a PHP-powered self-hosted Radicale alternative, a CalDAV+CardDAV server I need to try out.
- Generics in Go 1.18, the free additional chapter from Learning Go by O’Reilly Media.
- A circuit board clock on Etsy, a great idea to make use of those old spare motherboards that are lying around;
- Livebook.dev, a Jupyter notebook for Elixir code.
- xbar: Put anything in your macOS menu bar (thanks, Jim Nielsen)
- There’s a DOS Games Club, they have a podcast and they’re on Mastodon!
- How is Felix today?, a crazy Quantified Self experiment driven to the extreme.
- Create your own RPG without effort using RPG in A Box.
- Collector’s Quest, another retro gaming podcast centered around the good and bad parts of collecting I recently discovered. Includes an obligatory amount of swearing.